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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
January 23, 2004

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner
609-984-7160


 
DHSS Institutes New Safety Standards for Vital Records


 

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has implemented the statewide use of new standard safety paper for all vital records in an effort to deter fraud and better protect the identity of New Jersey residents, Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. announced.

 

The department and the 566 municipal registrars began using the new safety paper on January 1, 2004 for all birth, death and marriage certificates. The new safety paper is virtually impossible to fraudulently reproduce.

 

Approximately one million certified copies of birth, death and marriage records will be issued in the state this year.

 

This initiative is one of Governor McGreevey’s initiatives to safeguard identities and prevent fraud.  The governor’s executive order called for “uniform forms for the issuance of all vital records” and “safety features for authentication purposes and to deter forgery.”

 

“Before this initiative, there were nearly 2,500 valid forms of a vital record in our state, making it easy to forge,” said Commissioner Lacy. “Having standardized safety paper will not only help protect the identity of New Jerseyans and deter fraud, but will also reduce the potential for identify theft.”

 

The non-reproducible paper being used contains 12 safety features, many of which are used now in the new U.S. currency.

 

In addition, New Jersey began using a new standard death certificate form.  The core data on this form will be used throughout the country as individual states re-engineer their existing death certificates.

 

In New Jersey, approximately 72,000 death certificates are filled out each year by nearly 8,000 different professionals, such as physicians, nurses, health care staff, medical examiners, funeral directors and municipal registrars.

 

The new core data, drafted by the National Center for Health Statistics, is a more detailed document that will produce more comprehensive statewide health statistics and demographics.

 

Anyone with questions regarding an application for vital records or death certificates should contact their local registrar’s office or DHSS Office of Vital Statistics at 609-292-4087.

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